1929 (Magill's Literary Annual 1980)
There are probably two years in all of American history that enjoy instant popular recognition and association with specific events. One, of course, is 1776, the Bicentennial of which was celebrated four years ago on a national scale with great emotional and commercial fervor. Popular associations with this year are positive. The same cannot be said for the second memorable year, 1929. It is identified almost exclusively with the Great Crash of the stock market and the onset of perhaps the most emotionally and economically debilitating period in United States history, the Great Depression.
1929, because of the Great Crash, did not go unnoticed during the fiftieth year of its anniversary, however, although it certainly was not celebrated. Several television productions and considerable newsprint were devoted to the events of those terrible days in late October. Several books were published as well, most dealing mainly with the Crash. One might expect that these volumes would be commercially exploitive and devoid of sound scholarly research and value. Such has not proven true, however, at least in the case of Warren Sloat’s 1929: America Before the Crash. Sloat, who worked as a newspaperman for twenty years and has written for several national magazines, including The Nation, Ramparts, Commonweal, and the Saturday Review, has produced an engaging popular history of the year, and indeed of much of the early twentieth century, of...
(The entire section is 2189 words.)
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